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Bathroom we need to replace it? Is it working at all?

12 years ago


We are having some issues with our bathroom fan, and I wondered if someone might be able to offer some suggestions/guidance.

We have a Panasonic fan/light combo (WhisperLite, or something like that?) that was installed two years ago. If I remember correctly, it's 110CFM, which our electrician deemed the right size for our roughly 6'x10'x9'h bathroom. We did the venting ourselves, which was likely a mistake---it is a straight shot out to a roof cap (single-story house) so no big turns, but does use flex duct which I know is not the best option.

From the beginning, we had trouble with steam continuing to build up on the mirror, but the fan did seem to help somewhat. It's on a timer and typically there are two back-to-back showers totaling 20-30 minutes, and then the fan runs for another 20 minutes afterwards.

However, a few months ago we started noticing mildew on the walls. This seems like a HUGE red flag that something is amiss with the fan---we checked it and also removed the plastic grate which did have some dust build up, but it has not improved at all. Typically it takes 10-15 minutes after the last shower for the mirror and window to "unsteam" which doesn't seem normal to me, but my partner thinks this is just how fans work. We have never lived anywhere with a fan before, though, and thus neither of us really has any idea what "normal" is.

So I'm the problem just our venting? Is it the fan, which isn't all that old? Something else altogether? The placement of the fan isn't great, and in retrospect we'd do it differently---it's centered in the room because of the light, but the shower is against one wall---but the room is so small that it didn't seem like a big deal at the time. Is it worth the cost of moving it?

We have been washing down the walls and do plan to repaint the whole room with mildew-resistant paint (not what's there now) and possibly change the tile (needs to be done anyway, and would allow us to go all the way up the wall, where the worst mildew is)---but I want to make sure we've gotten to the root of the underlying problem, too.

Any thoughts would be wonderful---just not sure what our next steps should be! Thanks!

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